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Why do the Republicans Stick with Trump, II?

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"Either this country will kill racism, or racism will kill this country." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)


A few weeks ago I published a column entitled "Why do the Republicans Stick with Trump ?" After going through the various possible reasons that I could think of at the time, I came to the conclusion that most of them who do so, do so because they realize that without him at the top of the ticket in the 2020 election, down-ballot the Party would get destroyed. With that conclusion, I came up with a new name for their party: the Trumpublicans (tm). However, following what has been going on the Mexican border over the last several months, and the total refusal of the Congressional Republicans to ally with the Democrat in the Congress to "do something" about it in the legislative manner, I have come to a different conclusion.

As my regular readers know, I have writing about Trump as a proto-fascist for quite some time now. Left-liberal political columnists in the mainstream like Paul Krugman (most recently here ) and Michelle Goldberg , who referred to the Trump Administration as a "kleptocratic fascist reality show," have more recently been applying that appellation to Trump and his cohorts as well. And then we have Rep. Ocasio-Cortez:

"Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the conditions at U.S. migrant detention facilities 'horrifying' in an interview Monday evening and doubled down on her comparisons of the situation at the border to [that of] World War II. 'Are we headed to fascism? Yes. I don't think there's a question,' the congresswoman told Yahoo News hours after she toured the detention facilities run by Customs and Border Protection. 'If you actually take the time to study, and to look at the steps, and to see how government transforms under authoritarian regimes, and look at the political decisions and patterns of this president, the answer is yes.' "

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a next-gen politician, in more ways than one.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a next-gen politician, in more ways than one.
(Image by nrkbeta)
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This evaluation from the left side of mainstream media and the elected Representatives, contrasted with the response of the Trumpublicans (tm) to the border crisis --- and for the thousands of asylum seekers and their children it truly is a crisis, although not of the election-propaganda Trumpite kind, totally created by Trumpian policies and responses --- has led me to change my mind about why the Trumpublicans (tm) are indeed Trumpublicans (tm). Yes, they do think that without him at the head of the ticket they would get crushed in 2020. But beyond that I have come to the conclusion that many of their elected representatives are themselves proto-fascists.

Consider once again the primary characteristics of fascism, as drawn from its 20thcentury examples:

There is a single, all powerful executive branch of government, in service of a capitalist ruling class. There are: no independent judicial or legislative branches, at any level; no independent media. There is a single national ideology, based on some combination of racism, misogyny, religious bigotry and authoritarianism, homophobia, and xenophobia. There is a State propaganda machine, massively using the Big Lie Technique. There may be: a full-blown dictatorship, a charismatic leader, engagement in foreign wars, the use of the mob/private armies. There may be transitional forms. And so, what do what have?

American Mussolini (well, at least wanna-be).
American Mussolini (well, at least wanna-be).
(Image by FolsomNatural)
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Demonstrating his penchant for "doing the government's stuff" primarily when he can do it on his own --- tariffs, immigration policy, foreign policy --- Trump has demonstrated over-and-over again his penchant for authoritarian government. His "Art of the Deal" is to make none, if he can at all help not doing so. The consistent attacks on the media (other than the ones he has in his pocket, of course). The drive towards creating a thoroughly right-wing judiciary (for the fascist the next best thing to having no independent judiciary at all). The consistent attacks on the free press.

(I recently purchased two books with remarkably similar names: "The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America" by CNN's Jim Acosta, who has become the number one media whipping boy for Trump; and "Enemy of the People: The Munich Post and the Journalists Who Opposed Hitler" [published by the Associated Press, it should be noted]. Trump has made it clear that he would like to silence the former and the myriad like-minded journalists we are fortunate to have, by one means or another. As for the other, on March 3, 1933, the Post posted the headline: "We Will Not be Intimidated." Nevertheless, even before Hitler had gained his dictatorial powers, on March 23, 1933, his regime violently shut down the newspaper for good on March 9, using the Sturmabteilung [the SA, the "Storm Detachment"], the Nazis' private army, to accomplish the task. Take heed, folks. Take heed.)

The racism, homophobia, misogyny and Islamophobia of the Trumpublicans(tm)are well-known. The State Propaganda Machine, which starts with Trump on Twitter, goes through Fox"News" and Sinclair, and then extends in the vast right-wing social media world, has abandoned the Occasional Big Lie Technique for, following Trump's lead, the Constant Little Lie Technique. And so on and so forth.

In response, many mid- to left-observers are continually raising the questions "why is there no Trumpublican (tm) response? Why do the Trumpublicans (tm) let this happen?" As I said just a few weeks ago, I have thought that it was related to the upcoming election. With what's been going on, particularly in the last couple of weeks, I have come to the conclusion that, following Trump's lead, the Trumpublicans (tm), are still of course focused on the 2020 election and their prospects, but more importantly are indeed becoming a fascist party, at least in terms the definition above.

.Now listen, y'all.  Trump is THE man..
.Now listen, y'all. Trump is THE man..
(Image by DonkeyHotey)
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) actually spoke about a "Trump third term," which of course would violate the Constitution. (Hitler actually got the German Constitution amended so that he could become Chancellor for Life.) There is the 9500-strong Border Patrol right-wing force, which, as exposed by Pro Publica, spews hatred towards immigrants-seeking-asylum and their political supporters. This force, or some fraction of it, could become Trump's version of the Nazi private army (in this case paid with tax-paper, not private, funds) the Sturmabteilung. Gerrymandering has been legalized by the Trumpublican (tm) Supreme Court, paving the way for massive functional voter suppression. Religious authoritarianism is becoming the bedrock of the Repub.-led anti-abortion rights movement. It is only a matter of time before it could be extended to other arenas of human activity. Then, when Rep. Octavia-Cortez characterized the border detention camps as "concentration camps," the howls were heard all round.

(Actually Octavia-Cortez was referring to the Nazi equivalent of the border detention centers. They were camps set up in Germany, from the beginning of the Nazi regime, to house persons arrested for a variety of reasons, having no legal rights, held without trial indefinitely, in very uncomfortable conditions. A camp outside the leafy small Bavarian city of Dachau was the first of these. The extermination camps came later, in captured Eastern territories. But while they term as used by Octavia-Cortez is historically correct, there objections to its use, on the grounds that it diminishes the horror of the Holocaust. So, let's use a different name: the Trumpcenration Camps.)

A monument at Dachau, today.  Will there a monument to the Trump Camps 79 years from  now?
A monument at Dachau, today. Will there a monument to the Trump Camps 79 years from now?
(Image by ho visto nina volare)
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But now we have this, from one Paul Milde, Republican candidate for the Virginia state legislature: "On his Facebook page, Republican Paul Milde posted a photo of a mom assembling a playpen with the caption, 'Install your very own concentration camp in the comfort of your own home!' "[DLCC, July 2, 2019]. No Trumpublican(tm) howls yet. And of course, by not letting a Democratic alternative to the current border-operations-funding bill, with provisions for humane, civilized, legalized, treatment, come to the floor of the Senate, along with everything he has done with the courts, Mitch McConnell was showing his own fascist colors. Then, in terms of the camps themselves, and the quality of their guards in Customs and Border Patrol (referenced above), we could be seeing rehearsal time for detention camps that a second Trump Administration, unhindered by a thoroughly Trumpite Federal judiciary, and totally unreported-upon by a totally cowed/crushed media, could set up at a "time of civil unrest," for persona other than asylum-seekers.

There is major sector of the U.S. politico/economic ruling class which sees clearly the demographic changes rapidly altering the composition of the electorate in the U.S. that could bring major changes in the role of government in dealing with the economy, on every dimension from re-unionization to dealing rapidly and forcefully with global warming. They have one defense against this, and it is not electoral. It is the imposition of fascism, and their party, the Trumpublicans(tm), it is now clear, is totally committed to achieving their objectives, either by a frank fascist revolution or some electoral version of it.


Postscript: Defining terrorism as military-style attacks on civilians, it is not too wild of a guess to think that the Trump Border Policy will sometime in the future have led to the creation of terrorists, drawn from both the adult and child populations presently being held in the Trumpcentration Camps.

(Article changed on July 3, 2019 at 22:17)

(Article changed on July 3, 2019 at 23:08)

(Article changed on July 4, 2019 at 01:39)

(Article changed on July 4, 2019 at 01:40)

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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH, MS is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at StonyBrookMedicine (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 35 books. In addition to his position on OpEdNews as a “Trusted Author,” he is a Senior (more...)
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